Urban Oaks, An Inner City Farm

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by Alicia Ghio
from The Natural Princess

Looking out an Urban Oaks greenhouse to the surrounding neighborhood.Like bushy salads topped off with juliet cherry tomatoes? We do too. Watch the Natural Princess, Alicia Ghio, interview the founders of the Urban Oaks Organic Farm in New Britain, Connecticut, an “oasis within the inner city”.

Then Ghio channels her inner Julia Child and creates a fresh caprese pasta salad with produce from the farm.

by Alicia Ghio
from The Natural Princess

 


 

Looking out a greenhouse to the surrounding neighborhood.

Like bushy salads topped off with juliet cherry tomatoes? We do too. Join the Natural Princess, Alicia Ghio, as she interviews the founders of the Urban Oaks Organic Farm in New Britain, Connecticut, an “oasis within the inner city”.

“Lush gardens bursting with heirloom tomatoes aren’t just in the countryside,” notes Ghio as she stands on an street corner in New Britain.

Founder Michael Kandefer explained that the farm was made possible after a grant from the state helped them clean up the spot of debris, cars and waste, a process that started in 1999. The farm is now home to six greenhouses and thirty acres of fields.

 

 

Urban Oaks Farm chose to be organic from the start so they “would be able to sleep at night”.

 

 

 

Ken Zaborowski, who also works the farm, noted that the farm sells to restaurants in wealthier areas of the state, which brings money into New Britain, especially to one of its poorest neighborhoods, where the farm is located. Zaborowski noted that they grow over fifty varieties of tomato, which he enjoys picking. They do a cherry tomato mix for salads, which includes juliet tomatoes, viewable in the video.

As for defending the farm against disease and pests, Zaborowski advocates a natural, simple approach.

“We wrangle insects,” said Zaborowski in the interview, and went on to say that they utilize praying mantises and lady bugs to protect the plants, but he also said that healthy soil helps the plants combat disease. It’s most important to have soil with healthy nutrients, which brand name fertilizers lack.

Alicia and Ken sampling juliet tomatoes.And they’re doing well with their methods.

“All in all, we’ve had more clients than we’ve ever had,” said Zaborowski. Interest in the farm is growing as well.

The neighborhood looks better, and the town cleaned up blighted buildings, said Kandefer, who went on to say that they chose to be organic from the start so they “would be able to sleep at night”.

 

Watch the webisodes below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alicia Ghio and her husband Renato own the local production company RmediA. She is the creator, producer and host of the web series The Natural Princess. And, because food is always on her mind, she also is the author of the blog Local Food Rocks. Alicia is a passionate home cook on a mission to inspire others to know where their food comes from, to know what’s in it and to savor the flavors of fresh, local ingredients.

 


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